Biology B1.6.1 Decay processes

All the basic information you will need for AQA triple science, taken directly from the specification.

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Products of organisms

Animals produce droppings which return to the environment. Plants leaves fall off and are decomposed in the environment.

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Decomposers are organisms which feed on waste products and dead animals. These can be bacteria or fungi. They release CO2, water and minerals as waste, and plants use these to grow and develop.

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Detritus Feeders

These eat dead animals and produce waste. When the detritus feeders die, they are eaten by decomposers, along with their waste products. Examples are maggots and some worms.

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Decay conditions

Decay is faster in warm conditions, but slows down and stops in cold conditions. If it is too hot, the enzymes don't work. Decay also needs moist, oxygenated conditions.

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Importance of decay

Decay is vital for recycling natural resources. It helps us recycle waste, and rots material in compost heaps, which can then be used as plant fertiliser. It also breaks down bodily waste in the sewers, so it is safe to wash into the sea.

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Preserving Food

Food is:

  • vacuum packed - to starve it of oxygen
  • refridgerated - to starve it of warmth
  • dried - to starve it of moisture
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